Police are investigating allegations that a British National Party campaigner posed as a member of University staff in order to distribute leaflets through the campus internal mail system.
A University spokesperson confirmed that two leaflets, one of which describes Muslims as Britain’s “greatest enemy”, had been received by a number of staff via their internal mail. The material was contained in blank envelopes and addressed to individual staff and academics by name.
A staff member working at the central mail room on Goodricke Way claimed Tony Bamber, a BNP member who produced and distributed the leaflets, pretended to be a University employee in order to gain access to the mailing system.
Speaking to Nouse, Bamber denied impersonation, claiming he had called the University two days before delivering the leaflets and been told to leave them at the mail room. Bamber said that on arriving at the University he “spoke to somebody at reception and they told me to go to the post room and deliver them there and that’s exactly what I did. They even gave me directions and a map to the post room.”
A University spokesperson said he could not comment on Bamber’s claim that he had been directed to mail room by University staff.
Bamber said that four different letters and two leaflets had been sent out. He claimed to have targeted junior academics and those with “indigenous British” sounding names and to have taken the names from the University website. He denied that the University was a particular electoral target but said that he had targeted York because of recent comments by Archbishop John Sentamu on the possibility of a government apology for the slave trade.
In a statement the University said: “We deplore the underhand use of the University’s mail system, whose working practices have now been changed to guard against any repetition. It’s an open campus and we would like to keep it that way and there are a small number of people out there who would like to misuse that accessibility and that’s what appears to have happened in this case.”
Staff were asked to hand received leaflets over to Academic Registrar Sue Hardman who forwarded them to North Yorkshire Police. A police spokesperson confirmed that the allegations were being investigated.
YUSU Societies and Communications Officer Sam Bayley said: “We obviously have policy against them now and will follow our mandate on that. We condemn the activities of the BNP and they are not welcome on campus.”
The incident comes as the BNP prepare to stand hundreds of candidates in the May 1 local elections.